A question was asked of me, of others this week, "how have you seen a visible, tangible, representation of God--His Holy Spirit dwelling in you?
When I opened my spiritual eyes, recognized my wretchedness before God, my own sin, then responded to His calling, His open arms and smiling face, I received His Holy Spirit. In that moment of surrender, of knowing I am in need of His mercy--that intimacy between myself and His Spirit recreates a miracle and the connection to His Holy work, that which He willed for my life. This is a constant prayer, "Lord, Your will, not mine." The spiritual becomes the tangible in changed lives, changed desires, changed conversations, changed hopes and new dreams. It also allows a unique perspective, to see more of God in every thing, no matter how random, how insignificant, how worthless the world might judge. That is Holy Spirit.
Everyone sins, misses the mark of perfection and thus, separated from the Holy, (Romans 3:23). At first I just knew from what I was taught-- God made me, and that His Son, Jesus, died for me and that God is Love. If I believed that, I would go to Heaven one day and live there forever. Of course, when you are nine years old, that seems pretty reasonable, simple. God whispered in my ear, "I love you, will you love Me back?"
"Yes," I answered. God came into my heart by means of asking for forgiveness and receiving the Holy Spirit. Can I explain that at the age of nine? No, but I knew I belonged to Him that day. Serving Him has always been important to me as I studied His Word and served in various ministries. In all this time, some 50 plus years later, the Holy Spirit navigates my steps to a deeper relationship with Him. Have I spent some time being idle, drifting? Yes, I have gone down wayward roads and sat for too long on the bench for the luke warm, watching but not participating. He calls me back and convicts my heart, leading me into His grace and fellowship. I know and recognize that God dwells within me in the form of the Holy Spirit. I didn't need a bunch of classes, a party or a ceremony to know that, to experience His indwelling in me. My prayers for more of Him, my proactive trust--enough. My growing faith in story--evidence, tangible and visible. And then there are those goose bump moments. That IS Holy Spirit.
We all want to test the world, and we all wander, striving, curious humans we are. When God keeps ringing your spiritual phone of your heart, and He hears busy signals or hang-ups, or just no answer at all...but He persists by sending certain people and certain circumstances and signs--that is tangible Holy Spirit.
When placed in a compromising situation or have to make a choice and most say one thing, but your heart is saying another, you are feeling that voice of discernment giving you strength--that is Holy Spirit.
When one longs for their mom, sister or brother, spouse, the kids, best friends, the neighbors, to walk along side you in this journey, seeking growth and knowledge, wisdom and blessings, hope and purpose, pure fellowship of His goodness---more of Him, --that is Holy Spirit.
When you are called to a ministry you never thought possible, to leadership positions and opportunities no one would have placed you in, when scripture comes alive and is always applicable to your situation and prayers, when you have the constant desire to be in His Word, fellowship with His people and seek Him through your trials and adversity--that is Holy Spirit.
One day, my mind and heart crashed and melted. Grief-stricken, drained and depleted from my own thoughts and words, God took over. His Spirit activated a palpable, tangible love on me and began the process of showing me how to lift my head again. I look up and I look back... and I know His grace. His promises I find within me, even more intense than before, guiding me to His purpose. Part of His healing plan, He stirs and sieves the brokenness, replacing it with Hope. It is tangible, like a frown becoming a smile--that is Holy Spirit.
He lifted my head, to see not one, but dozens of swallowtail butterflies coming down from the trees filtering my grief-filled prayers up to Heaven. They surrounded me in the Light of a new day and a different life, but a hope-filled life. Ten years later, another single, transformed butterfly of the same genus, a swallowtail, lands on my windshield as I am stopped at a light and dances across to my driver's side, constantly fluttering, encouraging me and loving me, a tangible reminder that His Spirit, the Holy Spirit dwells in me and I recognize and feel LOVED as tears flow. The radio plays Chris Tomlin at that very moment--and that is Holy Spirit, and that is God!
At the CROSS, that is tangilble, visible in my heart. Hallelujah!
The butterfly is not something to be worshipped, for it too is temporary, a manifestation of His beauty in creation, but scripture reminds us in Romans 1:19-20:
...because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and devine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
and in Luke 19:40 "And He answered and said, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"
Father God, thank You for my salvation and that I know and want more than just the promise of Heaven. Your Holy Spirit was sent to believers so that we can participate in the Holy and receive Your power and strength. You saved me so that I may glorify Your name! What a privilege to be called to Your Plan, to find my own purpose within the gifts You have given me and the discovery of so much through fellowship and Your Word. Because Your Holy Spirit dwells within my soul, my Helper, Strength-giver and Inspirer, I can accomplish mighty things for Your Kingdom, for Your glory, in that I am awed and humbled, thank You Lord. Holy Spirit, thank You for hearing my long prayers, my simple prayers, my utterances and all my thoughts towards wanting Your Will and even those words and thoughts not aligning with Your Will. In that, You bring about Your discerning wisdom and lead me to better places and/or bring about obedience which leaves tangible evidence, for Your glory. Thank You Lord for Your prompts to pray, to listen, to watch and to wait. Thank You Lord for giving me Hope. As I have told my story, some have said to me, "I don't see God like you do..." Oh, Lord, I know that they can, if only they take the time to humble themselves, be authentic before You, asking You for that gift You left for us, Your Holy Spirit, God dwelling within us and among us. God, You so loved the world, every one of us can know You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit--You are welcome here. Amen.
FRANCESCA BATTISTELLI ~ HOLY SPIRIT